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Troublemaker (Dave Brandstetter #3)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  192 ratings  ·  29 reviews

The third volume in the award-winning, groundbreaking Dave Brandstetter mystery series finds Dave investigating the murder of the owner of a local gay bar. Appearances suggest that the only witness is also the killer, but he swears he's innocent. Trouble is, he may be telling the truth.

A renowned short-story writer, Joseph Hansen is also the author of more than 25 novels.

Paperback, 155 pages
Published February 1st 1988 by Henry Holt & Company (first published September 1st 1975)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4* of five

The Book Description: Who killed gay bar owner and all-around nice guy Rick Wendell? Was it Larry Johns, the attractive young man found wiping his prints off the still-smoking gun mere moments after the murder? If so, why was Johns naked? And what happened to the large sum of money Wendell had just withdrawn from the bar's bank account? Hard-boiled, openly gay insurance claims investigator Dave Brandstetter aims to find out in Troublemaker, the third volume in Joseph Hansen's l...more
Rosa, really

It's a cliche to use the term "master of the written word," isn't it?

Fuck it.

Once again Hansen proves he is a master of the written word.

(There. Actually, that entire sentence is a cliche. Oh well. It's true nonetheless.)

Usually I cannot stand an overuse of metaphors, know, stuff. JUST SAY WHAT YOU MEAN, PEOPLE. Whenever I read about the crashing waves of love along the shores of...of...I don't know, I can't even do it. But when I come across such writing, I feel like...more

Hansen paints and his medium is words. Beautiful, spare, visual writing.

Dave is more distant than usual in this one. At the same time we see little glimmers of him. The man, who appears uncaring, cares. I saw this in the interactions with Doug’s mother, with any animal that is around, with the seemingly non-relationship with his father. I think it was the first time in this series that homophobia touches the protective bubble Dave seems to live in.

As is typical for Hansen’s writing, the human...more

3,5 stars

Troublemaker is the third case of Dave Branstetter and though I liked the first two books more than the third one, I can assure you - it was not the writing that influenced my rating.
The writing of Joseph Hansen is masterful and one of his biggest talent.
His books are less suited for the reading in-between.
You have to forget everyday life around you to fully concentrate on his wording to detect the small jewels that are hidden on every page.
The inconspicuous things like:
Something ha
James Thane
This is the third outing for Joseph Hansen's insurance investigator, Dave Brandstetter. Medallion, Dave's company, is carrying a life insurance policy on Richard Wendell. Wendell has been shot to death and his mother, Heather, finds Larry Johns, one of Richard's lovers, standing over the body with a gun in his hand.

To the police, it looks like an open and shut case, which is bad news for Medallion who will be out $25,000. This book was published in 1975 when $25,000 no doubt seemed like a lot mo...more
I liked the mystery in this one -- I actually got there pretty quickly, then discarded the thought, only to take it up again later. I only liked a couple of the characters involved, mostly Tom Owens, but because of him I cared about how it all shook out, so there you go.

I have my usual reservations about Hansen's writing, but I'm getting used to it. And it's not bad, anyway: I whisper it to myself, generally, because it sounds good -- I always do that with well-written books, like with Chandler,...more
Though the murder mystery and Dave's investigation perhaps intrigued me even more here than in the previous two books, I would have loved a little more space had been given at the end to Doug's reaction to Dave not being able to be there for him when Doug needed him. Just a minor complaint in an overall very enjoyable book, where Dave's self-deprecation at his handling of the investigation goes hand in hand with his human compassion, his people skills, his persistence and intuition.
Jason Huffman-black
3.5 stars

I really enjoyed the mystery. It was complex with many interesting characters. What brought the rating down was the author's strange descriptions of things. Many times I had to go back and read over, which pulled me out of the story, to figure out what was going on. At times, I even gave up without figuring it out.
Edina Rose
4.5 stars
Good mystery and not much on romance. Dave Brandsetter, the Insurance Detective, has some trouble in his private life (his dad is ill and he is afraid to lose him, and his relationship with Doug, his recent lover, is showing some serious cracks). However, as usual, Dave is a consumed professional and does not let his private life affect the quality of his work.

I really like the author's writing style. This is description of Carl Brandsetter, Dave's dad:

"Carl Brandsetter was as straight...more
Bill  Kerwin
The third adventure starring Dave Brandstetter, the openly gay death-claims insurance investigator from L.A., is entertaining. The mystery itself isn't much, but I read my mysteries for the characters, the atmosphere and the setting (particularly if the setting is a city), and "Troublemaker" didn't disappoint me in any of these areas. Besides, the prose is spare and elegant and Hansen give us a rare peek--rare at least as far as the mystery genre is concerned--into gay life in Southern Californi...more
Randy Weled
in order to read his books, I find that you must keep a character diagram. There are a lot of characters, almost all of them suspects, if you do not have the book geneology, I think you will get lost very quickly.
Mallory Heart Reviews
Review of Troublemaker by Joseph Hansen
5 Stars

I was privileged to read some of the mysteries in this wonderful series years ago, after first publication. Recently I had been remembering them, and wishing I could find them again, so I’m very pleased to find Open Road Media giving a new opportunity for readers to enjoy the mysteries involving Dave Brandstetter, Gay insurance death claims investigator. Dave is a very solid, laid-back type of individual. We hardly ever see him rush, except when a ca...more
A totally engrossing classic mystery detective story set in the 70s that plays out like a movie.

Who killed gay bar owner and all-around nice guy Rick Wendell? Was it Larry Johns, the attractive young man found wiping his prints off the still-smoking gun mere moments after the murder? If so, why was Johns naked? And what happened to the large sum of money Wendell had just withdrawn from the bar's bank account? Hard-boiled, openly gay insurance claims investigator Dave Brandstetter aims to find
Do you think Dave looks over the paperwork and just goes to investigate the gay decedents, leaving the heteros (and closet cases) to his Death Claims colleagues? Or are readers supposed to fill in the gaps between books with imagined investigations of non-gay deaths?

Or maybe Medallion Life is like a niche insurance company?

One wonders.
Sparse, distinctive writing style on the verge of becoming mannered, but not quite. Deceptively disciplined narrative put together from vivid descriptions of characters and places. Straightforward--no pretensions beyond being a well-written mystery.
I've been reading the Brandstetter books in order, and this was a typically tight mystery solved by the gay insurance investigator. This one was a little easier to follow than the first two; and I was appropriately mystified until the very end, just as the detective was. These were breakthrough novels for their time (40 years ago) with a gay sleuth, but they're beginning to wear on me a little. The writing is occasionally over-wrought; and it's beginning to seem as though most of the population...more
This is the third book in the Brandstetter mysteries.In this mystery we find Dave investigating the murder of a gay bar owner Rick Wendell.Rick was a wonderful guy whom everyone seemed accept the person who shot him in the chest in his home.A young man has been arrested for the murder.Dave has doubt about his guilt,he had no gun shot residue on him.The man claims that he heard an argument between and a unknown man and then a gun shot.The lists of suspects grow and the mystery deepens.Also,on a p...more
Not quite as good of a mystery as the first two, but I still enjoyed this.
My first Joseph Hansen book, not my last. His beautiful descriptive passages were beautifully written, yet they did not go on too long. I could "see" what Dave saw. Everything was so clear in my mind. The characters are layered making them interesting and real. None were perfect as are none of us in reality. Dave's journey to the solution of the mystery was what was fascinating, not so much the mystery in itself. Thanks to all of you in the M/M group and Josh Lanyon who directed me to this write...more
I enjoyed this one. Though I sort of guessed who the culprit was, I still enjoyed reading Dave's trek through the many lies and obfuscations of Rick's nearest and dearest. And poor Tom. I did like him, even though he was laid up in bed for the whole book.

I also liked the updates with Doug and the new place. I can't wait to see how they fix it up.

Luckily, my library had both books 4 and 5 on the shelf. I'm all set for the next two mysteries with Dave!
As always, when you read an author's catalog back to back, you find yourself fixating on weaknesses. Joseph Hansen's plotting can be a bit ponderous and the red-herrings and back and forths, before the final reveal does seem more than a little coincidental -- the worst thing you can say about a mystery.

Nonetheless, I'm enjoying them, if only for the glimpse at gay life in the '70s.
A bit more predictable than the first two titles I've read. I figured out the culprit and the intricate plot very early. There were too many players in the game and not enough play. Still better than your average whodunnit but not of the caliber of what I've read so far of Hansen.
Feb 01, 2014 Alexandra marked it as finish-later  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, favorites, mm
The tiny font in the big thick tome of Hansen's Brandstetter series was giving me a migraine, so I had to put it down. Maybe I will take it with me to the beach or something this summer.

Or maybe I will give in and buy the kindle editions at their arm and leg cost. Hmmm.
Lil' Grogan
This one seemed bleaker than others. But maybe it's because I read the others awhile ago. Highlight on greedy grasping families. Seemed much more conventional in flow. I do like the rhythm of his words in these books, and that Dave hides from himself and us sometimes.
For such a short story that barely mentioned Dave's boyfriend, I came away with a very clear idea of the relationship. For a book with so many characters and motives, I never got confused or irritated. Hansen really knew how to write a great mystery.
Dave Brandsetter has got to be the worst boyfriend in the world.
I really enjoyed this David Bradstetter also. It was good to see some of bad guys get their own back.
Very well written, aptly captures the flavour of decades past while carrying a well plotted mystery.
Aug 08, 2013 farmwifetwo marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Earliest the e-library has. None in print.
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Q&A with Josh...: Brandstetter Challenge: #3 Troublemaker 40 39 Dec 18, 2013 07:38AM  
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Joseph Hansen (1923–2004) was an American author of mysteries. The son of a South Dakota shoemaker, he moved to a California citrus farm with his family in 1936. He began publishing poetry in the New Yorker in the 1950s, and joined the editorial teams of gay magazines ONE and Tangents in the 1960s. Using the pseudonyms Rose Brock and James Colton, Hansen published five novels and a collection of s...more
More about Joseph Hansen...
Fadeout (Dave Brandstetter, #1) Death Claims (Dave Brandstetter, #2) Skinflick (Dave Brandstetter, #5) Gravedigger (Dave Brandstetter, #6) The Man Everybody Was Afraid Of (Dave Brandstetter, #4)

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“He was laughing. But sad was the impression he gave.” 3 likes
“He put out a hand for Dave to shake.
"You're the only new friend of Tom's I've met. And you're just what I expected."
"Yup," Dave said. "I wear three-hundred-dollar suits and drive an eight-thousand-dollar car. Mr.Taylor-stop measuring people that way."
"It's American," Taylor said defensively.
"And Nigerian. And Bolivian," Dave said. "It started in Sumer.”
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